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Late antique fortifications database
#1
Hello all,
I am new to this board but have dropped by a couple of times in the past. I wonder if you or some people on this board might be willing to help me out with a computer project I have recently undertaken. As part of this course I have to undertake a simple database project and thought it might be a good idea to revive some of my old research work. I had created a database to record all the battles and sieges from AD300-650 (dates, location, combatants, sources, course of the engagement) but, as I now know, it was very poorly designed in database terms. I am in the process of redesigning this but have added a whole new section to it on fortifications, a topic I only touched on briefly in my research as I had no archaeological training.
Basically I am trying to set up a system, which will ultimately become web based (if enough people think it is useful), to record information on late antique fortifications. Primarily this is concerned with wall height, area enclosed, tower types, gates, dating, etc. Part of the project requires showing feedback from potential users. As I saw the helmet and sword databases on this site, I thought some people here might be prepared to look at a prototype I have come up with and maybe enter a few records on to it for trial purposes and provide feedback. At present the database is only in MS Access 2000. I do not know how to make it web based and know nothing about ASP so for the foreseeable future it will be in Access and I can email it to nobody who would like to see a copy.

Many thanks,
Stephen McCotter
Stephen McCotter
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#2
Here's the second screen of fort details form
Stephen McCotter
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#3
Hi,
I posted some additional info but it does not seem to have survived hyperspace. Anyhow, I've attached the missing first screen shot of the Fortifications data entry form so that you can see what sort of information is being recorded. Hopefulyy it will get through this time. As you can see there are only a handful of records entered at this stage and I do not want to finaliase the design until I have a bit more feedback from potential users.

All the best,
Stephen
Stephen McCotter
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#4
Hi,
Last of the three screen dumps I tried to post earlier. This is the one for the Enagagements part of the database. I had set this up about 18 years ago when I started my research on an old system called Dbase3+ and it migrated to various platforms over the years but was never properly updated. I am in the process of redesigning it with what I now know about relational databases. It still has a bit to go and a lot of the data in it needs to be cleaned up. However this should give you an idea of what is stored there, though not all records have as much detail as this one. There are about a 1000 records in all covering AD300-650.

If anybody has any comments on this I'd be delighted to hear them as I need to incorpaorate potential user feedback in to my write-up. I am particularly keen to know what sort of queries people would like to run on the database. Maybe now that you can see the sort of info in both sections of it, it might give you all some idea as to whether or not this is useful and should be developed further.

All the best,
Stephen
Stephen McCotter
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#5
Hi Stephen...
...as far as I'm concerned, I'd find such a Database quite useful.
Especially as I think that there seems to be quite a gap since the times of
Harald von Petrikovits' and Stephen Johnsons' publications on similar topics.
However, I've been dancing on "too many weddings" so to speak and I've got to pay for that now, so I don't know yet If I could contribute in a useful manner in the forseeable future.
As far as suggestions are concerned I#d like to see a little bit more spca for being more specific on "Walls" or "Overall Form Of The Fortification".
(E.g. Stein am Rhein-Tasgaetium/CH; SW-wall ("Frontwall") 3,10m wide; SE-wall 2,75m; NE-wall ("rhine-wall") 1,75m; acc. to Drack-Fellmann "Die RÄmer In Der Schweiz; Stuttgart 1988. AFAIK no new evidence/additions/modifications have been made on that subject since then.)

For now I wish all fellow "participants" (both genders) on this intersting Forum a "Happy Easter".
Greez

Siggi K.
Siggi K.
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#6
Quote:I had set this up about 18 years ago when I started my research on an old system called Dbase3+ and it migrated to various platforms over the years but was never properly updated.
Ah, the wonderful dBase III+. And Clipper! Ah, them were the days ...
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#7
Hi Simplex,
Thank you for your comments. I had intended that sort of information to go into the construction details (which can take 64000 characters) but it may well be best to make a small field for wall lengths and put it in that area. Its only with observations like these that I can make this project more effective so sincere thanks. I will incoporate this and can email you a copy of the current state of play if you want - just send me your email address - its about 3MB in size.

What in particular are you working on that would make this useful to you - or put it another way how would this information being in a database format be helpful to you - what sort of questions wuld ou like to run through it?

Thanks
Stephen McCotter
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#8
Hi Stephen,
....sorry for the delay.
Like I said "the weddings" got me in a mess -- sort of, at least , --- a new coputer that doesn't work with my old peripherals thanks to fu***** , err ---, I mean funny Vista, being the last one but not the least. :?
I'm not working at anything "roman" right now, but I still think that there is a gap after v. Petrikovits' and Johnsons work with a lot of findings/published work that vastly amends/corrects their works on late roman fortifications. Since I'm unable to scan because of the abovementioned troubles I cannot post you a copy of the criteria that v. Petrikovits`used to charcterize the kinds of these fortifications, but I think I'll try a write-up on that. As you have requested my mail-adress, this might be a good opportunity to do so.
Greez

Siggi
Siggi K.
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#9
Hi folks,
I have to hand in a copy of the database for assessment on Tuesday. I have not gone on as far as I would have liked with it, but I should have a fully functional example by teatime tonight. If anybody would be willing to have a play with it and provide some feedback about ease of use, etc, I'd be very grateful. I can email to ou in zip file. I'd especially like to know what sort of questions people would like to ask of it and I can try and construct those queries as these need to be submitted as well. I intend to carry on developing it over the summer and if anyone has any views on its development let me know. I've tried to set it up in such a way that it can apply to any period of ancient history.

Just leave me your email address or contact me off board and I'll send a copy. You will need to have MS Access 2000 or later installed to use this.
Stephen McCotter
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#10
Quote:You will need to have MS Access 2000 or later installed to use this.

In which case you're probably well on your way to hell in a hardcart ;-) Openoffice Base (which, unlike Access, is free in all senses of the term) should open it and allow you to save it in a more usable and friendly form than Access. Still, nowhere near as horrendous as MODES, the most execrable database on the planet and part of a vast cosmic joke by Bealzebub himself, so far as I can tell.

Mike Bishop
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
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#11
Quote:... my research was Late Roman sieges
Quote:... dug up a bit of my old thesis
Roman siege research, Stephen?
My own thesis was on "Aspects of Roman siegecraft". Have you published anything?
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#12
Never really got round to it - had a few plans in the pipeline but didn't pan out as hoped and other factors took over. Long term plan was to try something along the lines of an ebook to allow for much more illustration of fortifications which I began to get into more towards the end of the thesis. I did publish a couple of articles on the De rei militari website but I had to move out of academia a few years ago and into IT and as a result of doing a project for that I've dusted off the research.

http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/a ... otter1.htm


http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/a ... otter2.htm
Stephen McCotter
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#13
Sorry,
Should have added the research was on the early Byzantine period- internal politics stopped it being called late Roman. I looked at how different peoples conducted siege warfare in the period 300-650. I wasn't allowed to do it from a straight military point of view so it had to be on how peoples' backgrounds affected their ability to deal with sieges there had to be an angle as my boss kept saying! Wasn't my idea and I probably didn't really go into the socio-anthropological side of things as much as I should. Certainly my treatment of what counted as settled, barbarian, nomadic etc could do with severe revision.
Stephen McCotter
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#14
Quote: http://www.deremilitari.org/resources/a ... otter1.htm

Hey, I read your article already a few years ago! But, in the face of contrary evidence, you left open your conclusion: Did now the Avars adopt the trebuchet from the Byzantines or vice versa?

Btw does your database also feature spiral stair cases in Roman fortifications?
Stefan (Literary references to the discussed topics are always appreciated.)
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#15
Hi Stefan,
I thought I was fairly clear in the article but obviously not. Briefly, I reckon the Avars used the trebuchet and brought it with them on their invasions of the Byzantine empire. The Byzantines were impressed by its simplicity and copied it. However the Avars were impressed by the accuracy of the Byzantine torsion artillery and tried to adopt it. Hope this clears it up.
Stephen McCotter
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